A haven for people who cope with loss or trauma, and are in emotional distress

About Elah

Elah was founded in 1979 by and for immigrants from the Netherlands, and is one of the pioneers in Israel in the field of psychosocial assistance to Holocaust survivors. Over the years, we have expanded our field of work, and today we are open to everyone. Each year we help thousands of people in psychological distress, people coping with loss or trauma. Our target groups include Holocaust survivors and their families, families who experienced sudden and traumatic loss, and families of fallen soldiers.

With more than 40 years of experience with therapeutic and community work, Elah has become a leading organization for support in the event of loss and bereavement.

Elah provides a broad range of services, including individual, couple, family and group therapy, psychiatric counseling, and a wide variety of social activities that contribute to the process of coping and healing, and the recovery of joy in life. Treatments at Elah are given without delay, in the strictest confidence, and with special attention to our clients’ cultural background. After an introductory interview (intake), a treatment program is drawn up, based on the client’s wishes with regards to language, treatment method, and the gender of the therapist.

Our team consists of around 300 therapists: social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, couple and family therapists, a sexual therapist, art therapists, drama therapists and music therapists, animal therapists, bibliotherapists, a clinical criminologist and spiritual counselors. In addition, Elah is assisted by almost 100 volunteers.

We work together with government institutions, NPO's, and businesses, united in the effort to improve the care for our target populations.

Elah is an educational organization that seeks to improve professional care through the application of new models of treatment, thus contributing to the wellbeing of our clients, and to the creation of a resilient society.

For its volunteer work with Holocaust survivors, Elah was awarded the “Decoration of Light” by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel in 2015.

In 2012, Elah received the honorary award of the Israel Gerontological Society, for its unique contribution to the elderly in Israel.

Annual reports

Members of the Board

Yahel Shahar - Chairman

Amos van Raalte - Treasurer

Miri Ben Sinai - Secretary

Margalit Shaham - Member

Sarit Tromp-Sandormirsky - Member

Amir Klein  - Member

Audit Committee

Avi Amosi CPA

Ifat Ilitsh

Albert Brand

Directors

Yaela Cohen

Bennie Leezer

Services

Help Centers

We offer support and care to families confronted with murder, suicide or fatal traffic accidents, through our help centers in the Sharon district, the north of the country, and in Jerusalem.

The death of a close relative is a difficult and traumatic experience, especially if the loss is sudden and unnatural. Sudden loss as a result of a traumatic event such as murder, suicide or traffic accident can trigger intense emotional and psychological distress, and often heralds the start of a difficult grieving process. Therefore, help and assistance by professionals in the first stages of bereavement is crucial.

The Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services, in cooperation with Elah and the association “For Life”, maintains eight regional help centers, where surviving relatives are assisted free of charge.

Elah manages four of these centers: in Haifa, Kfar Kana, Hadera and Jerusalem. ‘For Life’ manages the centers in Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva and Tira.

The following services are offered at the help centers: support of families by professionals and volunteers; referral to different kinds of therapy, spiritual counseling; creation and facilitation of support groups; activities for the families and professionals, such as commemorative ceremonies and seminars.

The legal assistance to surviving relatives of victims of murder is coordinated by the Legal Aid department of the Ministry of Justice.

Treatment of Holocaust survivors

Since 1979 Elah has devoted herself to the care of Holocaust survivors. We are proud to claim that Elah was the first organization in Israel to provide psychological assistance to this special target group. As the years pass and survivors of the Holocaust age, the defense mechanisms that helped the survivors cope with the war experiences weaken. At the same time, old age itself entails new losses and challenges. Survivors lose partners, family members and friends. They lose skills, are confronted with decline of health and mobility, and experience loneliness. Because the new losses often revive old, dormant traumas, survivors at this stage need more help and support.

Elah is recognized as a provider of care by the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority of the Ministry of Finance. The treatment is free of charge to survivors who are eligible according to the criteria of the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, and is provided by professional, experienced and attentive caregivers. The treatment is given at home to people whose mobility is limited, or in one of our regional clinics.

Holocaust survivors who suffer from cognitive decline, often receive alternative treatments such as art therapy, music therapy, or animal therapy.

In addition, Elah manages therapeutic and social groups in homes for the aged, day care centers, social clubs and welfare offices. In these groups, the survivors discuss a variety of issues pertaining to their lives then and now, in a pleasant and uplifting atmosphere. The contact that is built up in the group helps to relieve feelings of loneliness and has a positive influence on the mental well-being of survivors.

Family members of Holocaust survivors can go to the Therapeutic Institute of the Elah Center for help and guidance.

Therapeutic Institute

During our lives, all of us are confronted with loss: the death of loved ones, divorce of a partner, children leaving home, changes in living or working conditions, the loss of physical functions. The emotions and difficulties that such experiences can evoke, can generally be alleviated by therapy.

Psychotherapy is suitable for people of all ages. The therapist helps the patient understand the nature of the problems, to deal with emotions, and to tackle difficult situations, all the while striving to improve the client’s quality of life. Treatment can be short-term or long-term, individually, with a spouse or other family members.

In addition to psychotherapy, Elah also offers psychiatric treatments and advice on the use of medication for mental health problems.

At the Therapeutic Center of Elah, we work with a large team of professional and experienced therapists, and offer various treatment methods, including psychodynamic therapy, CBT, logotherapy, narrative therapy, family and sexual therapy, expression and creative therapy, and spiritual counseling. Our therapists maintain strict privacy standards. The Therapeutic Institute does not use waiting lists, and offers a high level of service.

Treatment services in the Therapeutic Institute are free of charge or subsidized for the following groups:

Free treatment for families who lost close relatives as a result of murder, road accidents or suicide (see Help Centers).

• Free treatment for bereaved families of IDF soldiers (plus a limited number of applicants who are not recognized by the financer, the Ministry of Defense

• Free treatment for relatives of terror victims, funded by the National Insurance Institute (only referrals through the NII)

• Care for people who suffered a traumatic loss due to illness or accident

• Free treatment for Holocaust survivors funded by the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority in the Ministry of Finance

• Psychological care for families of Holocaust survivors

• Psychological care for Dutch immigrants

• Treatment of lone soldiers who have been referred by the  Michael Levin Center for Lone Soldiers

• Psychological care for students of the Open University

• Psychological treatment for employees of the Israel Police Corps, the Israel Electric Corporation, and the Fire Brigade (only referrals through the employer)

• Psychotherapy for the general public??

Immigrants from the Netherlands

The Dutch community in Israel has been closely associated with Elah for 40 years. Elah was founded in 1979 by and for Dutch immigrants, and until today the Dutch community has been an important target group for our activities. We make our care available to all Dutch people in Israel.

Members of the community and their families are eligible for subsidized treatments (individual, relationship or family therapy) in Dutch or Hebrew. Elah coordinates and guides group work for the Dutch in various regions of the country. These groups act as a supportive community, and help maintain the ties with Dutch culture, language and identity. We also set up and maintain a network of volunteers, who give attention to and assist the eldery in the community, and we organize national events for the Dutch in Israel, including the annual commemoration of the Holocaust.

Spiritual Guidance

People who face an impending death or who experience painful loss, can benefit from spiritual counseling, a supportive treatment that aims to bring the client in contact with the spiritual core within him or herself. Spiritual counseling is one of the alternative therapies at Elah. The underlying principle of the treatment is that people who, as a result of traumatic loss, struggle with existential questions and beliefs, often feel the need to connect with the spiritual core within themselves, as a potential source of strength, meaning, hope and healing. During the counseling process, a variety of techniques are used, such as reading and talking about life stories and philosophical texts, finding meaning in songs, personal prayer, mindfulness, and breathing exercises. The treatment is carried out by counselors who are trained and licensed by the Spiritual Guidance Association.

Volunteer Work

Elah maintains a network of almost 100 volunteers, who take on a variety of tasks, either within the community itself or at the Elah office. Some volunteers pay social calls to the elderly, others help with administrative chores in our clinics, and yet others manage the Dutch library, that is taken from one event to the other.

All the volunteers are individually supported by staff members. They also participate in group supervision, and meet collectively at the special day for volunteers, that we organize every other year.

In the Help Centers (see page..) Elah set up a volunteer network as well, consisting of volunteers who have suffered traumatic loss themselves, and want to share their insights and experience. The volunteers attend specific meetings and events for the clients as well, with the aim of helping them cope. The volunteers are trained and supervised by staff members.

Clients who suffer(ed) a traumatic disruption of their life, often benefit from group meetings with companions in distress. The interaction with  people who went through identical or similar occurences, the opportunity to listen and respond to each other, to understand and learn from each other, can prove to be an engaging, motivating and empowering experience.

Group Therapy

Elah maintains several therapeutic and social groups:

Group therapy for Holocaust survivors and those who suffered traumatic losses in their life. The interaction with companions in distress can be an inspiring source of mutual assistance and personal growth. Our therapeutic groups consist of a limited number of participants, who share their experiences and discuss how to deal with the past today. Therapeutic groups are offered in nursing homes, institutes for protected living, day centers, club houses and welfare institutions throughout the country.

Social groups for Holocaust survivors. In these groups, Holocaust survivors meet their peers in a pleasant, understanding and creative environment, and discuss issues related to their lives. The aim of the groups is to relieve feelings of loneliness and to exert a positive influence on the well-being of the participants. The groups use innovative techniques such as gardening, writing and painting, mindfulness, movement, theater and music. Groups can also be centered around one of the themes that the Elah uses for group work, such as Photo album of my life (personal photos), Revolving doors (about important decisions), Through the stomach (recipes and home remedies) or A place in my heart (special place). Social groups for Holocaust survivors are offered in nursing homes, institutes of protected living, day centers, clubhouses and welfare institutions throughout the country.

Group therapy for the Second Generation, and support groups for people who suffered sudden loss due to murder, suicide or traffic accident, in which the participants share personal experiences and …

Support groups for parents who have lost a child due to illness. The groups are aimed at helping the participants cope with the loss, and to find ways to continue living.

Social groups for people from the Netherlands. The groups help to maintain ties with Dutch culture, language and identity, and function as a supportive social community.

If you are interested in starting a group, please

Training of professionals

In order to develop and learn professionally, and to work in a balanced and sustainable way, social workers and therapists need constant training and supervision.

Elah is an organization that develops new models for coping with loss. Over the course of forty years we have gained a great deal of experience in the field of care and psychological assistance to Holocaust survivors, in the field of assistance in the event of loss and breavemetnt, and in the field of volunteering. This experience we share with our colleagues social workers and therapists through lectures and at conferences.

In addition, we present workshops to colleagues who are specialized in anger management.

Elah has been recognized as a practical training institute for students of the faculty of social work at the University of Tel Aviv, and similar programs.

Coaching of employees during crisis

We help the employees of companies exposed to emergency situations.

Companies can be confronted with a crisis or emergency situation in the workplace: a colleague who commits suicide, or a worker who dies as a result of an accident at the site. In that case, the staff present needs on-site support directly, in order to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress and to deal with the effect of events both privately and at work.

Contact us if your staff needs support. Depending on the situation and the wishes of the employees, we prepare a customized plan.

Lectures and workshops

We offer a range of lectures and workshops on a wide variety of topics, aimed at the elderly in general, and at Holocaust survivors and volunteers in particular.

Each of the interactive workshops contain one or more meetings, with a maximum of 12 participants. In these interactive workshops, which are led by an experienced group coach, the participants discuss their experiences on the specific theme.

Events

-Every other year we organize a day of fun and learning for all the volunteers of Elah.

-On the annual Yom HaShoah Wehagwoerah we organize a commemoration for the Dutch community in the center of the country.

-On the annual Yom HaShoah Wehagwoerah we organize a commemoration for the Dutch community in Haifa.

-As part of our work at the Help Centers, we organize an annual memorial for victims of murder.

-As part of our work at the Help Centers, we organize an annual memorial for victims of traffic accidents.

-As part of our work at the Help Centers, we organize an annaul March for Life.

-Elah organizes seminars and conferences for colleagues and ….

-Elah is an active partner in the planning committee of the International Conference on Loss, Bereavement, and Human Resilience, that is held in Israel every three years.

Contact

Elah Center for Coping with Loss

Yigal Alon Street 157, office 941, Tel Aviv 6744365

Tel. 03-6910921

Fax 03-6951574

E-mail elah@elah.org.il

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